N.E.O.C. clarifies face mask orders

The interim Chair of the National Emergency Operations Centre (N.E.O.C.), Agafili Shem Leo, has clarified orders on the public use of face masks.

After Agafili recently announced the Government had raised the public COVID-19 Alert Level to 1 some businesses have banned customers from entering stores without wearing masks. 

Agafili explained the alert level (which is represented by the colour yellow) encourages people to wear face masks but does not oblige them to. 

“The word used [in level 1] is encouraging the use of face masks,” he said. 

“We haven’t reached Level 2 or [...orange] that makes it mandatory [to wear facemasks].”

Alert Level 1 (low risk) was activated more than a week ago when two men returned positive COVID-19 tests.

It was later confirmed the men had historical cases of the virus that were not contagious. 

The first alert level is activated when between one to six cases are declared active. 

The public is advised to proceed with caution and observe all hygienic and social distancing measures associated with preventing the transmission of the disease. 

Several stores in town and some Government ministries have stopped members of the public from entering their doors if they are not wearing masks. 

Alert Level 2, represented by the colour orange, announces a state of extreme caution that includes limiting movements and the imposition of controls on social activities. 

Agafili also addressed complaints relating to the expense associated with wearing a face mask. 

He urged the public to be creative and sew reusable face masks.

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